Groups: Proposed Thompson Divide swaps will shift, not solve, problems |

Groups: Proposed Thompson Divide swaps will shift, not solve, problems

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Local groups are questioning proposals from oil and natural gas exploration companies that want to swap operations from the Thompson Divide area to parts of west Colorado.

The Grand Junction Audubon Society and North Fork Valley’s Citizens for a Healthy Community group are concerned the swaps shift environmental issues rather than solving them, the Daily Sentinel reported ( ).

“To solve the Thompson Divide problem, it doesn’t make sense to just push the problem onto somebody else,” said Audubon society conservation chairman Nic Korte.

The groups are worried about impacts to aspen forests and a type of swallow that inhabits them called the western purple martin.

Advocates are working to protect the mostly-leased Thompson Divide from drilling.

SG Interests wants to swap its leases for land in Delta, Mesa and Gunnison counties. Ursa Resources is proposing a Thompson Divide swap for land in Rio Blanco County.

“Oil and gas development is always going to be in somebody’s backyard, and there’s always going to be concerns about impacts from development,” said SG Interests vice president Robbie Guinn. “What we have to do then is engage these different communities and different concerns and figure out ways to mitigate impacts. That’s all I can do.”

The exchanges require congressional approval.

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